Paddles!

During many movies and TV shows, we see a patient goes flatline, he’s basically dead, and the doctor and rescue team swoops in, grabs the paddles, shock him a few times and he walks out of the hospital in two hours.

In movies and TV shows. Generally speaking, in ONLY movies and TV shows.

Why is that?

Because if the person is in a true flatline, meaning there is no electrical activity in the heart, paddles, or defibrillation as it is known in the medical world, will do nothing.

So, a few comments on this, so your stories are a bit more accurate.

1) If a patient is flatline (asystole), the patient needs two drugs. A) Epinephrine. B) Vasopressin. With epinephrine, you can give that as many times as you want, spaced about every three minutes I think it is. With Vasopressin, you can only give that once and that is all. Keep in mind that this i when the heart has completely stopped.

2) If you really want to shock a patient, they need to be in ventricular fibrillation (V-Fib) or Ventricular tachycardia without a pulse, otherwise known as V-tach without a pulse. In common language, the ventriculers are going really, really fast, which will manifest as a fast heart rate.

3) There are these things called automatic defibrillators in many public locations. With these things, anyone can shock a patient, because it’s all automatic. You attach the pads, run the read cycle, and then the machine will tell you whether or not you can shock the patient. I’m sure there’s a video out there if you are very curious.

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

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